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July 23 , 2008

The Rector's Wife


For twenty years Anna Bouverie, as a priest's wife (�9000 a year and a redbrick rectory that looked like a bus shelter) had served God and the parish in a diversity of ways. She had organised the deanery suppers, made cakes for the Brownies' Easter Cake Bake, delivered parish magazines, washed and ironed her husband's surplices (not altogether perfectly according to Miss Dunstable), grown her own vegetables and clothed herself and her children in left-over jumble-sale items. When her husband failed to gain promotion to archdeacon and retreated into isolated bitterness, and the bullying of her younger daughter at the local comprehensive reached unendurable proportions, Anna suddenly rebelled. Taking a job in the local supermarket she earned money, a sense of her own worth, the shocked disapproval of the parish, and the icy fury of her husband. As her loneliness and isolation increased, she was observed with passionate interest by three significant men, each of whom was to play a part in the part-tragic, part-triumphant blossoming of Anna's life.

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